1991 BMW M5

One could argue, pretty convincingly, that the E36 M3 is the best value if you want an M car right now. Good examples can still be found under $10,000, parts are plentiful, and there’s a huge selection of examples to choose from. But for me, the best value has to be the E34 M5. First off, if you’ve never seen a used advertisement for a second-generation M5, you might have missed that these supreme sedans were the last of the handbuilt M models. If you hate movies, you might have missed that a M5 was also an unsung hero in the cult classic Ronin, even if it couldn’t get away from a Citroen and the S8 was more memorable. If you’ve been living under a rock, you might not know that it’s father – the original M5 – is currently on a fairly steep appreciation curve. Yet the second generation M5, while considered a bit softer than the E28, was a potent sleeper nonetheless. And for me, it’s the ultimate M car; not because it’s the fastest, prettiest or most valuable; but because it expresses the ethos of what made BMW great. A Spartan warrior wolf in taxi-cab clothes, the M5 combined literal race-bred technology into an easily digestible package; it was a pleasure to drive fast or slow, it was reasonably reliable (and especially so considering the performance envelope), and yet unlike Porsche Turbos, Lotus Esprits, Chevrolet Corvettes or any other “sports” car that offered similar performance, it was a stealthy package – it was the adult choice. In 1991 if the M5 was graduating high school, it would have been Valedictorian and voted “most likely to succeed”, but it would have gotten my vote for “most athletic” and “prom king” as well – it’s that good. Despite these superlative qualities, a reputation second to none in terms of quality and driving experience, the E34 M5 still hasn’t caught on as a market darling:

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1991 BMW M5 on eBay

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1991 BMW M5 with 15,000 Miles

I still remember the magic of my first ride in a M5. Although my father would end up owning one and still does, it was not the E28 like his that started my love affair with the inline-6 equipped super-sedans. Rather, it was a then-new 1991 E34 model that provided me a ride I was not quite fully prepared for. Coming from a background of family Toyotas, you can imagine the difference when full-throttle was applied to the legendary S38B36 motor on an onramp. It felt, quite literally, like we were taking off. The E34 never seemed to gain the traction of the E28’s appeal for many enthusiasts, but for me, it’s the model I love more. That ride remains the only time I’ve been in an E34 M5, but having spent many years getting to drive the family’s subsequent ’95 525i, every time I got behind the wheel I dreamed that awesome twin-cam M50 was its bigger brother. The market still hasn’t awoken to these last-of-the-handbuilt, last of the original M88 derived cars – a shame, considering how superlative they are in many senses. But when one pops up with only 15,500 miles on the clock, you better believe I took notice:

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1991 BMW M5 on Carsales.com.au

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